I was delighted when Claire asked me to jot down a little something regarding my writing journey. I have been writing Christian/Romance/Suspense since 2003. My first published work, Full Disclosure, was released in 2006, followed by Abandoned Identity, and Criminal Obsession. I have been on a ten-year journey that has brought me where I am today, and I couldn’t be more excited.
In 2014, with advice from a multi-published, award-winning author, I struck out on my own into the self-publishing field. I did so with equal parts self-doubt and excitement. But I’m so glad I did. With the release of Badge of Respect in December 2014 and One Saturday in March 2016, I am fulfilling my dream of seeing my completed manuscripts in print. Something I’m not sure I would be able to do within the confines of the traditional Christian publishing house.
I am so excited to be a part of the new lifeblood that is flowing from the self-publishing market. As a Christian author who desires to write realistic stories, I now have the ability to write what God has pressed on my heart without having to fit my stories into the somewhat sanitized mold of the conservative Christian publishing house. That is not to say that I want to write tawdry stories filled with sensationalism, but I do want to write stories that are realistic and relevant to the times in which we are living. The world is messy. And we as Christians are not immune to those messes. As humans, we fail. Sometimes miserably. Not because we love God less, but because we aren’t perfect. We should not fool ourselves into thinking Christians don’t lie, swear, or fall into temptation. Because they do. I applaud stories that accurately portray the trials along with the triumphs in the lives of Christians. I don’t in any way condone sin or make excuses for it. But I am also not so pious as to believe it doesn’t touch the lives of those who love God. The books I choose to read are for enjoyment, entertainment, and escapism, not a false reality or a place where I can stick my head in the sand and pretend all is right with the world. Great examples of books that are emerging from Christian authors willing to tackle difficult or unorthodox storylines are Kept by Sally Bradley, Sway by Amy Matayo, Told You So by Kristen Heitzmann, and Tears of the Sea by MaryLu Tyndall. Many best-selling authors are not only working hand-in-hand with Christian publishing houses but are also stepping out on their own to publish stories they are passionate about. The self-publishing field no longer has the stigma it used to carry. It is a new energy that is infusing the market of literature, be it in print or e-books. Christian artists are writing intelligent stories for readers looking for something more than cookie-cutter storylines and unflawed characters.
As you can tell, I am passionate and excited about where publishing is heading, but in no way am I discounting the immeasurable amount of talented authors and incredible stories being told within the traditional Christian publishing market. The Secret of the Journal series is a perfect example of the fresh, innovative stories being released within the traditional publishing market. Self-publishing is not replacing these avenues it is only adding to the depth of the publishing field.
My hope, when people read my books, is that I can introduce them to genuine characters dealing with realistic issues. Characters who love God, but might struggle with His sovereignty during the most difficult of times. And, characters who meet God in places they never would’ve dreamed they would find Him. Link to my website where you can read the first chapter of all my books. http://www.tamaratilley.com/books.html